Our Virginia Personal Injury Attorneys Have the Answers You Seek
- Page 2
Is the insurance company right when they say I don’t need an attorney to negotiate my settlement?
Telling you that you should not retain an experienced truck accident lawyer to settle your claim is a common tactic insurance companies employ in truck collision cases. If the insurance adjuster informs you that you do not need an attorney, they are not doing it to help you. Here are the real reasons they do not want you to hire a lawyer.
#1: A Lawyer Knows the Law
A skilled truck accident attorney knows the Virginia laws and federal regulations governing truck drivers and trucking companies that apply to your case. They will not accept the insurance company’s misrepresentations about the laws that apply to your case, which they may make to deny your claim or pay you less compensation than you deserve. They will use their knowledge to protect your rights and win your case.
#2: An Attorney Knows How to Value Your Claim
Another reason the insurance adjuster does not want you to hire a lawyer is that they want to try to convince you that their lowball settlement offer is a fair one. However, a lawyer will know the value of your claim and go up against the insurance company so that you receive the maximum recovery under Virginia law.
#3: A Lawyer Can Prove Your Case
You will need to establish that the trucker and trucking company’s negligence caused your truck crash, the seriousness of your injuries, and the amount of compensation you are entitled to to be compensated for your injuries. An attorney can collect the evidence you need to prove your case. They will also have strategies to defeat the insurance company’s arguments about why they are not liable to pay you, which you would be unable to do if you try to settle your claim on your own.
#4: An Attorney Is on Your Side
The insurance adjuster knows that you may be vulnerable if you are injured and struggling to pay your medical bills and daily expenses when you are off work with no income. They would take advantage of your vulnerabilities and try to convince you to accept a settlement of far less than you deserve.
If you retain a lawyer, they will be on your side and would be looking out for your best interests. You are much more likely to receive a higher settlement if you are represented by a lawyer—which is why the insurance company does not want you to hire one.
#5: A Lawyer Can Litigate Your Claim
If the insurance company refuses to offer you a fair settlement or the statute of limitations, which is the deadline to sue, will expire soon, you will need to file a lawsuit against the trucking company and truck driver. An attorney licensed in Virginia can file the complaint and litigate your case for you.
Were you injured in a truck collision in the Virginia Beach or Norfolk areas? Call our Norfolk office at 757.625.1214 or fill out our convenient online form to schedule a free initial consultation to learn how our dedicated truck accident lawyers can assist you.
What could happen if I exaggerate my injuries in a car accident?
Exaggerating your injuries after an auto collision in Virginia is never a good idea. You could make it harder to obtain the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
How the Insurance Company Could Discover the Exaggeration of Your Injuries
Before offering you a settlement, the insurance company would investigate your claim. One of their investigation goals would be to search for any information they could use to deny your claim or pay you less than you are entitled to under Virginia.
They would most likely discover your exaggerations about your injuries during their investigation. Here are three ways they could discover this:
- Surveillance. The insurance company could hire a private investigator to engage in surveillance multiple times while your claim is being settled. The investigator could follow you, stake out your house, and take photographs of you doing activities you could not do if you were as hurt as you claim. If you are exaggerating how serious your injuries are, they will discover this when they spy on you.
- Social media. The insurance adjuster could also search your social media accounts for statements you make about your injuries and for posts about activities you are engaged in that you could not do if you were really hurt as much as you claim.
- Medical records. The insurance company will review all your medical records and look for inconsistencies in how you describe your injuries and your pain level to what your medical records show.
How Not Being Truthful About Your Injuries Could Hurt Your Claim
Exaggerating the severity of your injuries is always a bad idea. Here are ways this could weaken your claim:
- Your credibility. If the insurance company finds out you were not truthful about your injuries, this will weaken your credibility as a witness. They may question other statements you made, such as the cause of the car accident.
- Compensation. You may exaggerate your injuries in hopes of obtaining more compensation from the insurance company. However, this strategy could backfire. If the insurance adjuster discovers your exaggerations, it would significantly weaken your case, and you could be forced to accept less money to settle your claim.
- Fraud. Your exaggerations may be considered insurance fraud. This may be grounds for the insurance company to deny your claim or to sue you to recover any damages they paid you.
Were you injured in a car accident caused by a negligent driver in Virginia Beach or Norfolk? Call our Norfolk office at 757-265-1214 or complete our convenient online form to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation today to learn how our experienced car accident attorneys can help you.
What is the difference between a premises liability claim and a lawsuit?
Although the terms are often used interchangeably, a premises liability claim and lawsuit are different in Virginia. It is essential to understand their differences, so you know how to best pursue your rights to obtain the compensation you deserve for injuries you suffered in a premises liability accident.
What Is a Claim?
If you were hurt in a premises liability accident, your first step to seek the damages you are entitled to would be to file a claim with the negligent property or business owner’s insurance company. This is an out-of-court process of trying to settle your case.
The best way to file your claim is to retain a knowledgeable premises liability lawyer to file it for you. They would send the insurance company a demand letter explaining their liability to pay you, your injuries, and the amount of compensation you are seeking. The insurance adjuster would investigate your accident and injuries before responding to the demand letter. They would most likely begin by offering you a lowball settlement offer you should not accept. Your attorney and the insurance adjuster could go through a series of offers and counteroffers before your claim is settled.
What Is a Lawsuit?
Filing a lawsuit involves having your case decided through the court system. You would need to file a civil complaint if the statute of limitations to file your lawsuit is expiring soon, or the insurance company denied your claim or refused to offer you a fair settlement. Here are the basic steps in litigating your case:
- Complaint. Your lawyer would file a complaint explaining your premises liability accident, how the owner’s negligence caused it, your injuries, and the damages requested.
- Answer. After being served with the lawsuit, the home or property owner, referred to as the defendant, would file an answer to it, admitting or denying the allegations in the complaint.
- Discovery. Discovery is the phase of your case where the defendant’s attorney and your attorney obtain documents, testimony, and other information from each other and third parties. Common types of discovery include interrogatories, which are written questions to be answered, requests to produce documents, subpoenas for documents or additional information, and depositions.
- Mediation. Some courts require civil cases to go through court-ordered mediation before scheduling a jury trial date. In addition, your lawyer will enter into settlement negotiations with the defendant’s attorney, which would most likely result in a settlement of your case at some point in the litigation process.
- Trial. If your case is not settled, it would be decided at a jury trial.
If you were injured in a premises liability accident in the Virginia Beach or Norfolk areas, our experienced premises liability attorneys are here to fight for the compensation you deserve. Call our Norfolk office at 877-960-3441 or complete our online form to schedule a free, no-obligation initial consultation today.
Why won’t my doctor treat me after my truck accident?
You can suffer long-term injuries, such as a traumatic brain injury or another head injury, spinal injury, amputation, or back injury in a truck accident in Virginia. You can feel even more distressed if you contact your doctor and find out they do not want to treat your injuries. Here are the reasons your primary care physician may not see you and how to obtain the medical care you need.
Reasons Your Doctor May Not Treat You
It is not uncommon for primary care physicians to refuse to treat injuries caused by a truck accident. Common reasons your doctor may not want to see you include:
- Insurance company. Your doctor may not want to get involved in billing one or more truck insurance companies for payment of their bills. It can be complicated and time-consuming to deal with these insurance companies for payments than a health insurance company.
- Litigation. Your physician may not want to be an expert witness in your case, have to give a deposition, or testify in court if your claim has to be litigated.
- Complicated injuries. Primary care doctors are trained to treat common medical conditions or minor injuries. Your doctor may not have the expertise to treat the severe injuries you could suffer due to the truck collision.
How to Obtain the Medical Care You Need After a Truck Accident
If your doctor refuses to treat you, you will need to find another physician to treat your injuries. Here are some options for getting the medical care you need:
- Get a referral. Your primary care physician may be willing to refer you to a specialist who has experience treating your injuries. Before you schedule an appointment, be sure the specialist accepts truck accident victims.
- Find a doctor. You can also find another physician who treats accident victims’ injuries like yours. They will know what treatments will help you recover and will be able to document the seriousness of your injuries and the medical care you need to help you prove your right to compensation for your injuries.
- Retain a lawyer. Another good option is to hire a knowledgeable truck accident attorney immediately. They will most likely know qualified physicians who accept truck collision victims and who could be an expert witness in your case.
Were you injured in a truck crash that was not your fault in the Virginia Beach or Norfolk areas? Is your doctor refusing to treat your injuries? Our experienced truck accident lawyers are here to help. Call our Norfolk office at 877-960-3441 or fill out our convenient online form to schedule a free initial consultation to learn about your rights and how we can assist you.
How much will hiring an attorney to handle a pedestrian accident claim cost?
Fortunately, you can afford to retain an experienced car accident lawyer to settle your pedestrian collision claim with the negligent driver’s insurance company. Most attorneys in Virginia handle these cases on a contingency fee basis. Here is what you need to know about how you would be charged attorney fees in your case.
How Do Contingency Fee Agreements Work?
If your lawyer charges their fees for handling your pedestrian accident claim on a contingency basis, you would not owe any upfront attorney fees. Here is how a contingency fee agreement would work:
- You would only owe attorney fees if your lawyer was able to settle your claim or won your case at a jury trial.
- Your attorney would charge you a percentage of your settlement or judgment as their attorney fees. The typical fee is 33 percent, but it could range from between 20 and 40 percent of your award.
- The attorney fees you owe would be deducted from your settlement or judgment proceeds before you receive your check.
Will You Owe Other Costs and Expenses?
You will also be charged any costs and expenses incurred in your case. These include the costs to obtain medical records and the police report, expert witness fees, court reporter fees for depositions, filing fees, and other costs if your claim must be litigated.
You may have to pay for these expenses upfront, or your attorney could pay them and deduct them from your settlement. Your lawyer should explain how they charge their attorney fees and these expenses at your initial consultation. If you agree to hire them and they agree to take your case, you should sign a retainer agreement stating what you will owe and how the attorney will be paid.
Are There Other Considerations You Should Think About When Deciding on a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer?
When you are deciding which lawyer to hire to handle your case, their attorney fees should only be one consideration in making your decision. You should also evaluate their experience in handling pedestrian accident claims and their track record of success in settling and litigating these types of cases. You want an attorney who is not afraid to take your case to a jury trial if the insurance company refuses to offer you a fair settlement.
Were you injured in a pedestrian accident in Norfolk or Virginia Beach? Call our Norfolk office at 877-960-3441 or complete our convenient online form to schedule a free initial consultation today to learn how we can assist you.
What are the consequences for refusing a breathalyzer test in Virginia?
If the police stop you for a suspected DUI in Virginia, they will almost certainly ask you to take a breathalyzer test to measure the blood alcohol content on your breath. If you are arrested, they would ask you to take another breathalyzer test or blood test at the police station. If you refuse to take the breathalyzer test once you have been charged with DUI, you could face harsh consequences in addition to the punishments that would be imposed if you are found guilty of DUI.
Are You Required to Take the Initial Breathalyzer Test in Virginia?
The police would use a small handheld breathalyzer device to administer a breathalyzer test after you are pulled over for DUI. This is known as a preliminary breath test (PBT). The police would use the test results to establish probable cause to arrest you.
In Virginia, you are not required to take a PBT, and your refusal to take the test cannot be used to convict you of DUI. However, if you refuse the test, the police officer would look for other signs of intoxication that they could use to arrest you.
Can You Refuse to Take a Breathalyzer Test if You Are Arrested for DUI?
The police would use a breathalyzer or take a blood sample when they book you for DUI. Under Virginia Code §18.2-268.2, our state’s Implied Consent Law, you impliedly consent to submit to a breathalyzer or blood test if you are driving a vehicle and are charged with DUI. When you are arrested, the police officer must inform you of this requirement and the penalty you face if you refuse to take the test.
What Are the Penalties for Refusing a Breathalyzer Test?
The first violation of Virginia’s Implied Consent Law is a civil infraction. A second or subsequent offense would be a Class 1 misdemeanor offense. You could face these penalties:
- First offense. Your driver’s license would automatically be suspended for one year in addition to any driver’s license suspension for your DUI offense. You would not be able to get a restricted license during the one-year suspension.
- Second or subsequent offense. You could face up to one year in jail and a fine not to exceed $2,500. In addition, your driver’s license would be suspended for three years.
Have you been charged with DUI or a violation of Virginia’s Implied Consent Law in Norfolk or Virginia Beach? Our experienced traffic ticket lawyers are here to mount an aggressive defense strategy to fight the charges you face. To learn more about how we can assist you, fill out our online form or call our Norfolk office at 877-960-3441 to schedule a free consultation today.
Who gets custody of a pet in a Virginia divorce?
While you may consider your pet a member of your family, they are considered personal property in Virginia. If you and your spouse cannot agree on who gets custody of your pet in the divorce, the judge will decide who gets to keep them as part of the division of your marital property.
Factors the Court Will Consider When Decides Who Gets Custody of a Family Pet
Virginia is an equitable distribution state. In a divorce, the judge must distribute the property fairly but does not have to split the property evenly. Factors the court would consider when deciding who will get custody of a pet include:
- Pet’s acquisition. The judge would consider when the pet was acquired or adopted. If one spouse owned the pet before the marriage, they would most likely be awarded custody of the pet.
- Primary caretaker. Another factor to be considered is who the primary caretaker of the pet is. If one partner has taken on the responsibility for the animal care, the judge may determine that they should be the pet’s owners.
- Best living environment. The judge would also consider which spouse can provide the best living environment for the pet and has the most time and finances to care for the animal. The spouse awarded custody of the children will most likely also get the family pet.
- Abuse and neglect. If either spouse abused or neglected the pet in the past, it is unlikely that the judge would give them ownership of the animal.
How to Increase Your Chances of Being Awarded Custody of a Pet
The best way to increase the likelihood of keeping a family pet may be to work out an agreement with your spouse. You may have to bargain with them and give up other property you may be entitled to or work out a visitation schedule where they have some time with the pet too. You can also collect evidence to help convince the judge to award you the family pet. Helpful evidence can include:
- Adoption paperwork, bill of sale, veterinarian bills, and other documents with your name on them
- Statements and testimony of family and friends who can confirm you are the pet’s primary caregiver
- Pet’s name tag if it has your name and cellphone number on it
- Pet’s license with your name and signature
Are you planning to file for divorce in Norfolk or Virginia Beach? Do you have questions about your right to keep a family pet? Call our Norfolk office at 877-960-3441 or complete our convenient online form to schedule your free initial consultation with our experienced family law lawyers to get answers to your questions and learn how we can help you.
Should I accept a quick settlement of my motorcycle accident claim?
While it can be tempting to accept the insurance company’s first offer if you suffered injuries in a motorcycle collision that was not your fault in Virginia, it is rarely in your best interests to settle your case so quickly. Here are reasons why you should be extremely wary when you receive a first settlement offer from the insurance company—especially if you get it right after your motorcycle accident.
Why Does the Insurance Company Want You to Accept a Quick Settlement of Your Claim?
You need to understand why the insurance company may offer you a quick settlement of your case. They are most likely doing this because they realize that the value of your claim is high, and they want to save money by trying to get you to accept their first offer. They know that you may find it difficult to pay your expensive medical bills when you cannot work due to your injuries and may want to take advantage of you.
Reasons Not to Accept a Quick Settlement of Your Case
To obtain all the compensation you deserve under Virginia law, you need to wait to settle your claim. Here are three reasons why you should reject the insurance adjuster’s first offer:
- Low-ball offer. The insurance company’s first offer will most likely be for far fewer damages than you are entitled to under Virginia law.
- Your maximum medical improvement. You should not settle your claim until you reach maximum medical improvement (MMI). This is the stage in your medical treatment where you have recovered from your injuries or have recovered as much as possible. You won’t know the amount of future compensation you deserve until you reach your MMI.
- Final settlement. The insurance company's settlement will be a complete settlement of your case. If you accept the insurance company’s first offer, you will not be able to reopen your claim if you later discover that your injuries are more severe than you thought or realize that the settlement does not fully compensate you.
You should never settle your motorcycle crash claim without first consulting with an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer. To learn how we can assist you, call our Norfolk office at 877-960-3441 or complete our online form to schedule your free initial consultation today.
How long will it take to get my check after I settle my premises liability case?
Once you settle your premises liability claim, you will be anxious to get your settlement check and move on with your life. Unfortunately, you will not receive your payment immediately. Here’s what you need to know about the steps you will need to complete before you can get your check.
How Long Will It Take to Get Your Settlement Check?
It will take approximately four to six weeks to receive your money from the insurance company. It could take slightly longer if the insurance company tries to delay paying you or the steps in finalizing your settlement take longer to complete.
What Steps Must Be Completed Before You Receive Your Settlement Check?
You will need to complete a number of steps after you reach a settlement with the insurance company. They include:
- Signing a release. You will need to sign a release of all claims form where you agree that this is a final settlement of your claim. It could take a few weeks for the insurance company to draft this agreement and your premises liability attorney to review it.
- Issuing a check. The insurance company will issue your check after they receive your signed release. Depending on their procedures, it could take them a week or two to send your check.
- Depositing your check. Your check will be sent to your lawyer. They will deposit it in a client trust account.
- Paying liens. If you have any liens on the settlement, such as a medical lien, your attorney will pay these out of your settlement proceeds. They may negotiate settlements to reduce what you owe first. While this can take time, it can be highly beneficial to you.
- Deducting attorney fees. Your lawyer will deduct the attorney fees and litigation costs you owe them next.
- Issuing your check. Once all of these steps are completed, your attorney will send you your check. This completes the settlement of your claim.
Were you or a loved one injured in a premises liability accident in the Virginia Beach or Norfolk areas? Our experienced premises liability lawyers are here to explain your options and go up against the insurance company for the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Call our Norfolk office at 877-960-3441 or contact us online to schedule a free, no-obligation initial consultation today.
Can I file a claim if I can’t remember how my truck accident happened?
In Virginia, you are still entitled to compensation for your injuries caused in a commercial truck collision, even if you cannot remember how the crash occurred. You can use other evidence to prove that the truck driver’s negligence was the cause of the accident.
Reasons for Memory Loss After a Truck Crash
There are several reasons victims do not remember how their truck accident happened. The emotional trauma of being in a terrifying truck collision can cause a person’s brain to shut down to avoid dealing with the memories of what happened—especially if someone suffered catastrophic injuries or was killed.
Victims also might not remember their truck accident if they suffer a traumatic brain injury (TBI). A common symptom of a TBI is memory loss. Even a concussion can prevent a person from remembering how the truck collision occurred.
Types of Evidence to Collect if You Cannot Remember the Truck Accident
You can collect other evidence to prove how your truck crash occurred and that the truck driver was the negligent party. Types of evidence that can help you include:
- Police report. A police report can provide valuable information, such as the details of how the accident occurred, the truck driver and witness statements, the officer’s conclusions as to who was at fault, and whether any traffic citations were issued.
- Eyewitness statements. Eyewitnesses can give a written statement and testify in court if necessary about how the trucker caused your crash. Third-party witnesses who have no stake in the outcome of your case can be especially persuasive witnesses.
- Photos. Photos of the damage to the truck and your vehicle can help a knowledgeable truck accident attorney or an accident reconstruction expert determine the cause of your wreck.
- Black box data. The truck’s black box data can contain helpful information, such as the truck’s speed, braking, and steering.
- Surveillance video. A traffic camera or business surveillance camera may have recorded your collision. You need to obtain the footage as soon as possible before it is destroyed or taped over.
- Accident reconstruction expert. An accident reconstruction expert can review all the evidence and determine the cause of the crash. They may also be able to create a computer-generated reenactment of the collision to show to the jury.
Were you injured in a truck crash caused by a negligent truck driver in the Virginia Beach or Norfolk areas? Our experienced truck accident lawyers are here to collect the evidence you need to win your case and fight for your right to damages for your injuries—even if you do not remember how your crash occurred. Schedule a free consultation to learn more about your options and how we can assist you by calling our Norfolk office at 757-265-1214 or filling out our convenient online form.
Can I choose a repair shop after a car accident?
Yes, you can choose where to get your motor vehicle repaired after an auto collision in Virginia. However, there are many considerations that you need to think about when making this decision.
Can the Insurance Company Insist That I Use Their Preferred Repair Shop?
Under Virginia law, insurance companies cannot demand that a policyholder or car accident victim take their auto to a specific shop for repairs. They also cannot require selecting a repair facility or mechanic from a list of repair facilities or body shops. However, they do have the right to provide a list of preferred shops that they recommend the person use.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Using the Insurance Company’s or Your Own Repair Shop?
You need to weigh the benefits and drawbacks of selecting the repair shop to repair your vehicle vs. using one recommended by the insurance company. Some of the pros of using the insurance company’s choice of repair shop include:
- Quicker process. You may be able to get your auto repaired faster if you use the insurance company’s repair shop. Because the repair facility has an ongoing relationship with the insurance company, they may repair your vehicle quicker. In addition, you could avoid the need to get multiple estimates before getting the work done.
- Less paperwork. The insurance company may take care of more of the paperwork if you use the shop they recommend.
- Additional costs. If additional costs are incurred while your car is being repaired, the insurance company may be more likely to pay them or not argue about whether they are covered if you are using their preferred repair shop.
- Payment of claim. If you are seeking compensation for your injuries and reimbursement for the cost of repairing your vehicle, the negligent driver’s insurance company could separate the claims and pay the property damage claim immediately. They may be more likely to do this if you use a recommended repair facility.
There are also benefits to selecting the shop where your auto will be repaired:
- Your mechanic. You may have a long-term relationship with a repair facility or mechanic. You may trust them more than the one selected by the insurance company to do a good job when repairing your vehicle.
- Long distance. The insurance company's repair facility could be a long distance from your home. It may be more convenient to use a shop closer to where you live.
- Better quality repairs. The quality of repairs may be better if you choose who does them. The repair shop for the insurance company could use cheaper parts or not completely repair a problem to cut down on the costs.
Contact Our Experienced Car Accident Lawyers Today
Do you have questions about where to take your auto for repairs after a car accident or your right to compensation for your injuries? Call our Norfolk office at 757-265-1214 or complete our convenient online form to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation today with our experienced car accident lawyers to learn about your rights and find out how we can help you.
How do I pay my medical bills after a dog bite?
You could suffer serious injuries if bitten by a dog and may worry about how to pay your mounting medical bills. Fortunately, you may be able to seek reimbursement of your medical expenses from the dog’s owner in Virginia. Here are the common options that dog bite victims have for recovering the cost of their medical treatments.
Ways to Get Your Medical Expenses Paid After a Dog Bite
Under Virginia’s dog bite laws, you are entitled to be compensated for your injuries caused by a dog attack if you can show that the dog owner knew or should have known that their dog is aggressive or dangerous. If you can prove this, you have several options to recover reimbursement of your medical bills, such as:
- Homeowner’s insurance. If the dog’s owner has a homeowner insurance policy, it would most likely cover injuries caused by the dog’s owner. However, some policies will exclude coverage if the dog is a dangerous breed or has aggressive tendencies.
- Animal liability insurance. If the dog’s owner purchased animal liability insurance, you could file a claim with this insurance company for reimbursement of your medical bills. They would be responsible for compensating you up to the policy’s insurance limits.
- Car insurance. You may be able to file a claim with the owner’s car insurance company if the dog attacked you while you were in the dog owner’s vehicle or the dog jumped out of the window and bit you
- Dog owner. If the dog’s owner had no insurance or insufficient insurance to fully pay your medical bills, you could still hold them responsible for compensating you. However, you need to realize that they may not have the financial resources to pay you all the damages you are entitled to or may have to pay you in small monthly payments.
Should You Submit Your Medical Bills to Your Health Insurance Provider?
Even if the dog’s owner has insurance coverage to compensate you for your injuries, settling your claim with their insurance company could take a long time. In the meantime, you still owe your medical bills to your health care providers. You do not want them to refer your account to a collection agency, report the bills on your credit report, or sue you.
The best way to avoid these problems is to submit your bills to your health insurance provider if you have health insurance coverage so that your medical bills are paid. However, they may place a lien on your settlement that must be paid when you receive your payment from the dog owner’s insurance company.
Were you bitten by a dog in the Virginia Beach or Norfolk area? Do you have other questions about paying your medical bills? Call our Norfolk office at 877-960-3441 or complete our online form to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation today with our experienced premises liability attorneys to learn how we can assist you.
Should I talk to the insurance company after a truck accident?
No, if at all possible, you should avoid speaking to the insurance company for the negligent trucker and trucking company. Your best strategy would be to let an experienced truck accident lawyer take over all communications with the insurance company if you want to receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Here is how talking to the insurance company on your own could hurt your case.
What Are the Dangers of Speaking to the Insurance Company?
If you were not at fault in causing your truck accident, you may expect the insurance company to treat you fairly and pay you all the damages you are entitled to under Virginia law. Unfortunately, they may not be looking out for your best interests. They will try to save money by denying your claim or paying you less damages in your settlement. Here are the dangers of talking to them on your own:
- Your statements. Even if you are careful and know that the insurance adjuster is not your friend, you could say something that could be misconstrued as an admission of fault in causing your truck crash.
- Recorded statement. The insurance company will try to convince you to give a recorded statement, which is a question and answer session that is transcribed into a written document. The insurance adjuster is trained to ask confusing questions designed to get you to make damaging statements they can use against you.
- Medical release. The insurance company may also attempt to get you to sign their medical release. Their form is often a blanket authorization to obtain all of your medical records. The insurance adjuster would search your records for another incident or injury they could claim caused your current injuries. Do not sign any documents until an attorney reviews them for you.
- Quick settlement. If the insurance company knows that you suffered serious injuries, they could offer you a quick settlement of your claim. However, it is most likely an offer for far less compensation than you are entitled to. You should not accept any settlement without consulting with a lawyer to ensure the settlement is fair.
What Should You Do if the Insurance Company Contacts You?
It is not uncommon for an insurance company to call a truck accident victim within a few days of the collision. If the insurance adjuster contacts you, you should politely refuse to discuss the collision or your injuries with them. Get their contact information and your claim number. Then inform them that you will have your attorney contact them.
Were you or a family member injured in a truck crash in Virginia Beach or Norfolk? Call our Norfolk office at 877-960-3441 or fill out our convenient online form to schedule a free initial consultation to learn how our dedicated truck accident lawyers can assist you.
Should I file my car accident claim or talk with an attorney first?
You may be in a hurry to settle your auto accident claim if you suffered injuries due to another driver’s negligence, have mounting medical bills, and cannot work. You may think you will speed up the process by filing your claim first, especially if you need to search for an experienced car accident lawyer to assist you. However, it would be best to hire an attorney before contacting the insurance company.
What Are the Dangers of Contacting the Insurance Company First?
If you want to receive all the compensation you deserve under Virginia law, you should avoid filing your claim with the insurance company before you hire a lawyer to represent you. You could make mistakes when speaking to the insurance company that weakens your case and gives them ammunition to dispute your claim. Here are the dangers of contacting the insurance company first:
- Your statements. You could inadvertently say something, such as “I’m sorry,” that the insurance company can argue is an admission of your negligence in causing the auto crash.
- Your injuries. Right after your collision, you do not know how serious your injuries are, the treatments you need, or whether you will make a full recovery. If you discuss your injuries with the insurance adjuster when filing your claim, you may make statements suggesting your injuries are not severe.
- Recorded statement. You could agree to give a recorded statement, which is a question and answer session with the insurance company that is recorded and transcribed into a written document. Even if you are careful, you could make a damaging statement that hurts your case.
- Quick settlement. You could agree to a quick settlement of your case for far less compensation than you are entitled to.
- Other mistakes. You could make another mistake, such as agreeing to sign the insurance company’s medical release, that raises disputes in your case.
What Are the Benefits of Talking to a Lawyer Before Filing Your Claim?
There are many advantages of retaining a skilled car accident attorney before filing your insurance claim. The process of settling your claim could go faster. Other benefits include:
- Your best interests. Your attorney will have your best interests at heart. The insurance company’s goal is to save money by denying your claim or paying you less compensation in your settlement.
- Communications. Your lawyer will take over all communications with the insurance company and file your claim. This will help you avoid making damaging statements or agreeing to something that weakens your case.
- Evidence. An attorney will collect the evidence you need to prove your case so that you receive the maximum recovery in your settlement.
- Value of your claim. A lawyer can advise you on the strength of your case and how much money you can realistically expect to receive from the insurance company.
- Settlement. Your attorney will negotiate your settlement for you and have strategies to defeat the insurance company’s unfair tactics to deny your claim. If necessary, they would file a lawsuit and litigate your claim.
Do you need to file a claim with the negligent driver’s insurance company after a car accident in Norfolk or Virginia Beach? Call our Norfolk office at 877-960-3441 or complete our convenient online form to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation today to get your questions answered and learn how we can assist you.
Can I be placed on house arrest in Virginia?
If you have been convicted of committing a crime in Virginia, you could be facing a jail or prison sentence. Being placed on house arrest would be a better option. However, you need to know how this program works in our state, so you know what would be required of you.
Who Is Eligible for House Arrest in Virginia Criminal Cases?
In Virginia, house arrest is referred to as a “home-electronic incarceration program.” The program’s purpose is to allow a defendant to continue to work, go to school, and take care of their children. The eligibility requirements a defendant must meet include:
- They must be convicted of a non-violent crime.
- Their sentence must be for less than a year.
- They could be required to remain employed while under house arrest.
How Is a Person Monitored While Being Placed on House Arrest?
An individual sentenced to house arrest would be required to wear an ankle bracelet that would track their location at all times. Some monitors can also detect whether they have consumed any alcohol. A probation officer would also supervise their compliance with the house arrest program and any other rules they are required to follow.
Does a Person on House Arrest Have to Stay at Their Home 24/7 in Virginia?
A defendant sentenced to house arrest may not have to remain at home all the time. They would most likely be allowed to leave to go to work, school, doctor appointments, and other approved activities during specified times.
Are There Costs Assessed for Being Placed on House Arrest?
Yes, a person would be responsible for paying the costs associated with house arrest. Under Virginia law, these fees could be garnished from their wages if they fail to pay them.
Can a House Arrest Sentence Be Shortened for Good Behavior?
No, a defendant would be required to serve their entire sentence under house arrest. Unlike a jail or prison sentence, they would not be given credit for good behavior.
Do you have questions about whether you are eligible for Virginia’s house arrest program? Are you facing criminal charges? Our experienced criminal defense lawyers are here to mount an aggressive defense strategy for you to achieve the best outcome, given your situation. To learn more about how we can help you, complete our convenient online form or call our Norfolk office at 877-960-3441 to schedule your free initial consultation.
Do I need a premises liability attorney if I was bitten by a dog?
You may wonder if you should retain an experienced premises liability lawyer if you suffered injuries after a dog bite. Fortunately, the answer is easy. If you want to win your case, you should hire an attorney immediately after being bitten.
How Can a Lawyer Help Settle a Dog Bite Claim?
Under Virginia’s dog bite laws, you may be entitled to compensation if a dog bit or attacked you and you suffered injuries. However, getting the insurance company to offer you a fair settlement can be difficult—even if the dog’s owner is clearly liable. Here is how a skilled premises liability attorney can help you:
- Investigate. A lawyer will investigate the circumstances surrounding your dog bite and collect the evidence you need to win your claim.
- Identify liable parties. An attorney will determine the dog’s owner and any other negligent parties responsible for compensating you. Identifying all the responsible parties increases the likelihood that you will receive the maximum recovery you deserve in your settlement.
- Hire expert witnesses. Depending on the disputes the insurance company raises when you file your claim, you may need to retain an expert witness to resolve the issue or prove your case at a jury trial. A skilled lawyer will know which expert witnesses you need and have a network of qualified ones to choose from.
- Negotiate your settlement. Your lawyer will take over communications with the insurance company and negotiate your settlement with them. They will have strategies to defeat the insurance adjuster’s arguments as to why your claim should be denied or why you should not receive as much money as you are requesting.
- File a lawsuit. If the insurance company refuses to be reasonable or the statute of limitations to sue will expire soon, you need a lawyer licensed to practice law in Virginia to file a lawsuit on your behalf and litigate your claim.
Contact a Premises Liability Attorney Today
If you or a family member suffered injuries from a dog bite in the Virginia Beach or Norfolk areas, our dedicated premises liability lawyers are here to answer your questions, file your claim, and fight for the compensation you deserve from the insurance company. To find out more about how we can assist you, call our Norfolk office at 877-960-3441 or complete our online form to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation today.
Will my car accident attorney deal with the insurance company for me?
Dealing with a negligent driver’s insurance company can be a frustrating experience if you suffer injuries and are handling your claim on your own. It is strongly preferable to retain an experienced car accident lawyer who will take over negotiations with the insurance company.
Reasons Not to Deal With the Insurance Company on Your Own
Even if you have a strong claim against the at-fault driver, you cannot count on the insurance company to treat you fairly. An insurance company will often do everything they can to weaken your case so they can deny your claim or force you to accept less damages in your settlement. Ways they do this if you do not have a lawyer include:
- Offer you a low-ball settlement offer
- Get you to make a statement that hurts your claim
- Ask you to sign documents that waive your rights
- Get you to give a recorded statement
- Drag out settlement negotiations in hopes that you will miss the statute of limitations to file your lawsuit
How Having an Attorney Communicate With the Insurance Company Can Help You
You should retain a skilled car accident lawyer as soon as possible after your collision. Here is how having a lawyer take over communications with the insurance adjuster can help you:
- Avoid mistakes. Having an attorney talk to the insurance adjuster on your behalf will help you avoid costly mistakes, such as making an admission of guilt or signing a medical release, that can hurt your case.
- Collect evidence. Your lawyer will collect the evidence you need to prove the other motorist’s fault in causing your auto crash, the seriousness of your injuries, and the amount of compensation you are entitled to under Virginia law. This will strengthen your case and help convince the insurance company to offer you a fair settlement.
- Negotiate your settlement. Your attorney would negotiate your settlement with the insurance company. They will have strategies and evidence to defeat the adjuster’s bogus arguments to deny your claim or pay you less than you deserve.
- Litigate your claim. If your lawyer determines that the insurance company is not being reasonable or the statute of limitations to file your complaint will expire soon, they will file a lawsuit on your behalf and litigate your claim.
Were you injured in an auto collision in Norfolk or Virginia Beach? Our dedicated car accident lawyers are here to explain your options to you and take over all communications with the insurance company. Call our office at 877-960-3441 or fill out our convenient online form to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation today to learn more about how we can assist you.
Should I hire a private attorney or use a public defender?
You will have to make many important decisions, such as whether to accept a plea bargain in your criminal case. Hiring a lawyer to represent can help achieve the best outcome possible. Here are four reasons you should hire an experienced criminal defense attorney rather than use a public defender, if you have a choice.
#1: Public Defenders Have High Caseloads
Public defenders are very knowledgeable in criminal defense law and are hardworking. However, they have high caseloads and are often overworked. Here is how it could affect their representation of you:
- They would have less time to devote to your case and defending you.
- They may make more mistakes in your case than a private lawyer.
- They may be more likely to recommend you take a plea agreement to resolve your case and reduce their caseload.
#2: You Can Choose Which Private Attorney to Hire
You have a constitutional right to be represented by a lawyer in a criminal case, and the court would appoint someone to represent you if you cannot afford to hire one. You would have no say in the public defender they would choose. However, if you hire your own attorney, you could select the one you believe is experienced in criminal defense and will look out for your best interests when defending you.
#3: A Private Attorney Has More Time and Resources to Devote to Your Case
Private criminal defense lawyers often have a smaller caseload than public defenders. They can give them more time to investigate the prosecutor’s case against you and mount an aggressive defense strategy. They will also likely have other staff to assist them in your defense.
#4: You Are Likely to Achieve a Better Outcome
You are much more likely to achieve a better outcome in your criminal case if you hire a private lawyer. They will often fight harder to get the charges dismissed or reduced through a favorable plea agreement.
Our skilled criminal defense lawyers are here to defend you if you are facing criminal charges in the Virginia Beach or Norfolk areas. Fill out our convenient online form or call our Norfolk office at 877-960-3441 to schedule your free initial consultation today to learn more about how we can help you and what you can expect in your criminal case.
What factors could affect the value of my motorcycle accident claim?
Every motorcycle collision in Virginia is unique. The amount of compensation victims will recover from the negligent driver’s insurance company could be different even if they suffered the same injuries.
Why is this true? It is because each case has its own strengths and weaknesses. Here are the factors you need to know about that could affect the value of your claim.
#1: At-Fault Driver’s Actions
The negligent actions of the other motorist could have an impact on how much your claim is worth. If they were driving at an excessive speed, such as 90 or 100 miles per hour, or were drunk or high on drugs when they caused your crash, this could increase your claim’s value. You may even be entitled to punitive damages if their actions were especially egregious.
#2: Severity of Your Injuries
If you suffered a long-term injury, such as internal organ damage, spinal injuries, or a traumatic brain injury, you could need medical treatments for the rest of your life. You may need to take off work for an extended period of time—if you are not permanently disabled. This can significantly increase the value of your claim.
#3: Amount of Insurance Coverage
The amount of insurance coverage available to compensate you will have a direct bearing on the value of your claim. The negligent driver’s insurance company is only responsible for compensating you up to the motorist's insurance coverage limits.
If this is insufficient to compensate you fully, you may be able to file a claim under your own underinsured insurance coverage if you purchased it. However, your insurance company would also only have to pay you up to your insurance coverage limit. If there is not much insurance coverage, this will reduce the value of your claim.
#4: Your Own Fault
Another factor that profoundly impacts the value of your claim is your degree of fault in causing the motorcycle accident. Virginia follows a harsh contributory negligence law that would prohibit you from recovering any damages if you were even one percent to blame for the collision.
#5: Your Actions After the Motorcycle Accident
The actions you take right after your motorcycle crash will also affect the strength of your case. If you want to have a strong claim against the negligent driver, you should take these five actions right away:
- Contact the police at the scene and obtain a copy of the police report.
- Take pictures of the collision scene, damage to the other vehicle and your motorcycle, and your injuries.
- Get the contact information for the motorist, their insurance company, and eyewitnesses.
- Obtain prompt medical care within 72 hours even if you believe you were not hurt or that your injuries are minor.
- Retain a skilled motorcycle accident attorney as soon as possible.
Were you injured in a motorcycle crash in the Virginia Beach or Norfolk areas? Our experienced motorcycle accident lawyers are here to fight for the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Call our Norfolk office at 877-960-3441 or complete our online form to schedule your free initial consultation today.
What does “open and obvious” mean in a premises liability case?
It can be difficult to prove your right to compensation for your injuries in a premises liability accident. You must show that the business or property owner knew or should have known of the dangerous condition to hold them liable.
Your claim can be even more complicated if the insurance company tries to deny your claim or pay you less than you deserve in your settlement—which is common in these types of cases. The insurance company may try to do this by arguing that the hazardous condition was “open and obvious.”
What Is the Open and Obvious Defense?
If a dangerous condition is open and obvious, this means that the victim should have seen the hazard and avoided it. When raising this defense, the insurance company would be claiming that the victim was wholly or partially negligent in causing their injuries. Virginia follows a harsh contributory negligence rule that prohibits anyone from obtaining compensation if they were at fault—even just one percent to blame.
Whether a condition is open and obvious will depend on the circumstances surrounding the accident and what a reasonable person would do. The court would consider the dangerous condition and whether a person of reasonable intelligence would have noticed it and avoided it.
Even if the insurance company successfully argues that the condition was open and obvious, there may be exceptions where this defense would not apply.
Exceptions to the Open and Obvious Defense
- Negligence per se. In some cases, the business or property owner could be automatically negligent under the negligence per se doctrine. This exception would often apply in premises liability cases if the owner violated a building code.
- Distraction. If the owner should expect that individuals would be too distracted to discover an obvious danger, they could still face liability for a victim’s injuries.
- Expectation of harm. The owner can also be held responsible if they should reasonably expect that an open and obvious hazard could harm someone. In this situation, they would be required to promptly correct the problem or post a sign warning of the danger.
If you were injured in a premises liability accident and want to obtain all the compensation you are entitled to under Virginia law, you need the help of an experienced premises liability attorney. To find out how we can assist you, contact us online or call our Norfolk office at 877-960-3441 to schedule a free, no-obligation initial consultation.